Whether you are a Bruin fan, a Canuck fan, or even a fan of a team that can't stand the home team and their fans, you had shivers up your spine at the reception Manny "Money" Malhotra got for his magnificent comeback tonight.
Manny may have to share his nickname with Alexandre Burrows tonight though. He has a bit of the big game villain in him tonight. From the reaction of the NBC broadcast, and the pointed questions from the Boston media in the post game pressers, you know that the narrative will be that the Pincourt, Quebec native should have been in the press box and not on the 1st line. I wonder if they would have said the same thing if he was just the villain without the two goals, including the GWG, and three points.
Canuck fans do not care at this point. Two wins away, and Burr' just pushed his way to the front page on the possible Conn Smythe winner list. Keep it going in Boston on Monday guys.
So, can we say Burrows is a "hit"? I know I don't care about that "goody good bullshit" any more. I love that the only opinion he cared about was dad's, and that when his father told him to "score a couple to really piss them off!" He was money tonight. Can you believe this guy is at 2 million for another 2 years? Dude is going to get paid when that contract comes up.
Poutine gets first billing over Meatballs tonight ;
Alexandre Burrows . The Man, the Myth, the Legend. It just keeps growing. You already have a good inkling as to what his rating is tonight, hmmmm? Lets see what the numbers say first though. 28 shifts and 19:35 fun filled TOI ( 1:05 PP / 1:50 PK ), 2 goals, and an assist. A +1, 2 shots on goal, and 1 missed ( a 100% shooting %! ), 1 blocked shot, 1 takeaway, and 5 hits that included a couple healthy hits on Chara. 10/10.
Henrik Sedin and his brother were no slouches either. The Bruins played that line very hard tonight, and they still made an impact on the game. Hank had a little less of an impact on the stat sheet in his 25 shifts and 17:49 TOI ( 2:30 PP ). A +1, he actually had 2 very good chances, and shot wide on both. 1 takeaway and 1 giveaway, and only 4 out of 13 draws went his way. 8.95/10.
Daniel Sedin got on the scoresheet a bit more than his brother. In his 25 shifts and 18:32 TOI ( 2:36 PP ), Daniel had a big goal ( the tying one ), and an assist on the GWG. A +1, with 4 shots and 1 giveaway. The Sedins forced the Bruins to check them a lot without the same dominance we are used to. But they were important to the win. 9.25/10.
Checking line tonight Coach? OK boss ;
Ryan Kesler and his line did not have a bad game. David Krejci had a great one, as did his line. They were far more dangerous tonight, and that forced the line that had them as their primary assignment to play more of a defensive game. Kes' had 26 shifts and 22:59 TOI ( 2:24 PP / 2:29 PK ), and only had 1 shot on goal. 3 blocks, 3 hits, and 2 giveaways, and an almost Kes' like 9 of 19 draws won. 8.95/10.
Chris Higgins . In 25 shifts and 16:25 TOI ( :59 PP ), the New York native had a solid game. His 4 hits included some big ones. His calm play broke the pressure of the Krejci line more than once. His assist on Burrow's opening goal was a very deft play, settling an aerial from Salo. His attempted hit on Kaberle scared him so much he coughed up the puck on Hansen's great chance. 1 shot, 1 missed, 1 blocked, 1 given away, and 1 taken away. 9.05/10.
Mason Raymond has not had a ton of points in the playoffs, but he is growing into a more complete player. Like I said above, the Krejci line had a very solid game, and that meant they Kesler line was taxed more on the defensive side of the puck. In 28 shifts and 18:27 TOI ( 1:03 PP / 1:32 PK ), he only had 2 shots on goal, and 1 missed make the stat sheet. A little light, even with a well played defensive game. 8.6/10.
Just keep it going guys, just keep it going ;
Maxim Lapierre got a bad rap back East. He must have. How can you hate a guy that does this ? Not only did that make me, and probably both benches, laugh out loud, it showed a great frame of mind. Even when Bergeron bats away the hand and grabs his jersey, its halfhearted. How can you get that upset? Now, in his 21 shifts and 14:25 TOI ( :08 PP / :52 PK ), he was equally effective. His 4 shots forced big saves. There were more that were blocked, because his line was all about the pressure. They helped change the momentum of that second period. 3 hits, 1 takeaway, and 2 of 6 on the draw. 9.3/10.
Jannik Hansen almost filled that net tonight. He was set up by Kesler off the bench, and was only denied by Thomas's best stop. It was only 1 part of his 20 shifts and 14:20 TOI ( :12 PP / 1:50 PK ). He had 4 shots, and most were solid chances. He blocked 1 too. 9.15/10.
Raffi Torres had a big performance to live up to tonight. Its not every game you score the only goal in the opening game of the Final to get your team the win. How'd he do in his next game? Well, he had 17 shifts and 12:31 TOI, and the stats guy credited him with 2 hits. He had a couple half chances with his linemates that were blocked, and was a part of his line being a factor. Just not the same huge part he had in Game 1. 8.5/10.
Manny Malhotra. Wow. I got chills too, but its the game on the ice that matters, even with the wonderful story of his comeback. He looked a little tentative, understandably, in his first few shifts, but he had a very good game. In 13 shifts and 7:26 TOI ( 1:31 PK ), Manny had 1 missed shot, 1 block, and 1 takeaway. But that is not what excited AV so much when he knew he was coming back. Coaches dig guys that win 6 of 7 draws when most of them are in the defensive zone and on the penalty kill. Bravo Manny, bravo.
9.25/10. Edit - lets bump that up a bit, just this once, because of the return...10/10.
Jeff Tambellini almost broke his I don't know how many games now streak of not seeing the puck go in. He looked solid tonight. The 4th line mainly got the better of their counterparts, and hung in well against other lines. In 9 shifts and 5:50 TOI, he had a great chance at an empty net that Ryder and Chara just got enough of his stick to deny. 1 shot, 1 missed, and 4 hits. I like him on the 4th line AV. 9/10.
Victor Oreskovich may have had his best game of the playoffs tonight. In his 10 shifts and 6:20 TOI, he had 1 shot, and 4 hits. Three of them came on one momentum swinging shift in the second. 1 takeaway as well. He was using his speed and forcing guys to bail out, or dump puck prematurely often as well. Even forced himself onto the Kesler line for a shift in the third. 9.2/10.
The blue line is interchangable ;
Kevin Bieksa had his first game in a while without Dan Hamhuis tonight. He missed him a bit, but got through it when it counts. Without dependable Dan, Bieksa was credited with a team high 5 giveaways. In 25 shifts and 23:13 TOI ( 1:11PP / 1:18 PK ), he had 2 shots, missed 1, blocked 1 and had 5 hits. Not going to hold his penalty against him though, as that was just a blown call, with the puck hitting the glass before leaving the surface. His team killed it for him anyhow. 8.7/10. You can bet he took Peverly's number and will be paying that debt back. I don't know how a two handed slash to the knee that fells a guy, and leads to a scoring chance, can not be called, but I am NOT an NHL official ( though I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night! ). Juice is old school enough that he will take care of that himself.
Aaron Rome followed up his great game with one that was not so good though. He just was not as good paired with Bieksa as he was in the 5-6 pairing with Ehrhoff in Game 1. In his 22 shifts and 17:59 TOI ( :06 PP / :52 PK ), he led his team with 4 blocks. But he was also giving away pucks a bit more often than the 2 the stats guy saw. 1 shot on goal, 4 hits, and 1 takeaway, but the worst was the 2 penalties. Yes, both were possibly "light", but they always talk about not putting the ref in that position. There is a reason they say that Romer. 7.5/10.
The big minute pairing tonight was Alexander Edler and his partner. Mainly that was Salo 5 on 5, and they were pretty good, even under duress from the best game the Bruins have put on the ice so far in this series. His 30 shifts was a team high, as was his 24:53 TOI ( 2:30 PP / 2:52 PK ). He finished with 2 assists and was a +2. He had 3 shots on goal ( missed 4, mainly on the PP though ) 3 blocks completes his stat sheet, and a 9.2/10 from me.
Sami Salo is still a beast, and still a top defenseman in this league, and an important one for this team. he easily steps back into top minutes. In 29 shifts and 20:26 TOI ( 1:07 PP / 2:32 PK ), he was very good. His assist came on a great hold at the line on a Ference clear. +2, he had 3 shots ( and 2 of them forced huge saves from Thomas on one PP ) missed 1, 1 blocked shot and 1 takeaway. 9.15/10.
Christian Ehrhoff had a pretty good night too, but he was out muscled on the Lucic goal. In his 26 shifts and 22:36 TOI, ( 2:34 PP / 2:30 PK ), he did have 3 shots on net, and missed only 1. He had a takeaway. He was not horrible, and you certainly cannot blame anything on his being paired up with Alberts. 8.69/10.
Andrew Alberts was solid when he saw the ice. he saw less of it than any other blue liner ( 16 shifts and 11:40 TOI ), and was a -1 on the Lucic goal that was not really his fault. He had only 1 shot. But his 6 hits led his team ( in half as much ice time as the other blue liners ), and he was pretty good in his own end. Maybe he should have been with Juice instead of Rome. 9.1/10.
OMG, he let in two goals, TRADE LUONGOALZ ;
Roberto Luongo . What can you say? His goaltending is definitely giving his team a chance. The first goal to beat him, he made a wonderful save on Boychuk, and almost got across on the rebound chance. Noted but wrong again by the CBC goalie critique mob was the fact he was forward on his stomach. He would have probably not got there any quicker, whether he was forward or not, and he still almost got it either way. There is no way I am blaming him for the second goal, as I think it might have been tipped twice, and was definitely tipped ( very well ) by Recchi. Luongo also stopped 28 of 30, and made great saves on Recchi and Seidenberg, amongst others. 9.25/10.